Parenting that Works!
Thesis: Parenting that works and transforms their immature children into mature Christian adults teach the three nonnegotiable laws of maturity. The three laws are the law of sowing and reaping, the law of respect, and the law of responsibility.
Parenting is the toughest job there is. It’s demanding 24 hours a day; it has good days and bad days. There are days when you wonder if you are really making an impact with your kids. But even though it can be exhausting it is the most rewarding job there is. This especially rings true when you see your children grow up to become mature adults who turn around and pass on what you have modeled and taught them throughout the years. The truth is parenting matters and it makes all the difference in the world.
In our society today I read a lot about how many parents are not parenting any more. They have kids but then they don’t want to raise them. I see it in my own extended family. I discovered this story this week. Listen to this:
Students involved in a research project at the University of Illinois called 2000 homes at random between midnight and 2 A.M. on a Friday night in the city of Chicago to see if parents knew where their children were. In 75% of the homes called, a child answered and didn’t know where the parents were.
Contributed by: Norman Lawrence
While we where in Chicago this last week Kathy and I went with some friends to look at an area in the inner city of Chicago where this friend of ours is looking to plant a Youth church. While we where scoping out the area I saw this sign on the side of a building “Teens rebel take your parents to church!” I had to chuckle but the sad fact is many parents are failing to do their most important job in this world that is to raise their kids. The area we looked is an area with tremendous diversity right by the University of Chicago. I looked at all the different kind of people Asian, White, African American, and Hispanic, young and old and thought everyone of these individuals was impacted by their parents. The truth is the most influential people in these peoples lives is or was their parents.
Minirth, Meier wrote, “It’s not a matter of whether you teach your children spiritual values, but rather what you are teaching THEM. It’s not enough to “talk the talk.’ You must also ‘walk the walk.’ Kids can spot a phony a mile away. So our first spiritual duty is to be people of integrity. Are you the same on the inside as the outside? Are you the same at home as at church?”Not only we ourselves, but our entire household is affected by our faith in Christ.” I am constantly reminded that Parenting does make a difference!
As we continued on our journey through this area and through the hood I watched and observed. My heart spoke again to me as I gazed out the window and it said, “Everyone of these people matter to God and God desires a relationship with them.” But for many their parents failed them because they rejected God and His ways and choose their own selfish ways and their kids have been paying the price ever since. Their parents failed to protect them by teaching them the ways of the Lord.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the purpose of being a parent, what are we suppose to do?” This story answers that question.
[Daddy’s Protective Care, Citation: Steve Nickles]
About a month ago I bought my two-year-old daughter Sarah an aquarium.
We went together to the pet store to pick out four fish to put in the tank.
One of the fish died two weeks ago when Sara was at her grandparents’ house.
My wife flushed it down the toilet and didn’t tell my daughter about it.
This morning Sara found one of the other fish dead.
She found it caught up in one the fake plastic bushes.
My wife called me at the office and said that Sara had something to tell me.
In her two-year-old way, she explained to me the fish had died, she found it in the bushes, and she and Mommy were going to have a funeral for it in the back yard.
I realized that this was the first of many losses she would experience in life.
I broke into tears, however, when the last thing she said to me before she hung up the phone was, "Daddy, keep me from getting caught in the bushes."
Contributed by: A. Todd Coget
The Bible in many places emphasizes the crucial role parenting makes in the lives of our children. Listen to what it says!
4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Our text goes on to tell us how important it is to teach our kids about what God has done for our country and in our own personal lives. Why? So that they don’t follow after other gods and end up bringing a curse on themselves - on their families and on their nation. You see parenting affects you – your kids and your country.
The importance of teaching and training is also emphasized in the New Testament. Listen to this verse:
4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
There are many other texts that I could highlight for you this morning but I think you get the point. Parents must train their children. I read a recent Barna report which stated that most parents want to raise their kids to become mature Christian adults who make a positive difference in this world. But they just don’t know how to do it. So this morning I am going to give you three laws that you as a parent need to teach your kids and then train them on how to apply these laws to their lives.
T.S. - Parenting that works and transforms their immature children into mature Christian adults teach the three nonnegotiable laws of maturity. The three laws are the law of sowing and reaping, the law of respect, and the law of responsibility. Let’s explore each one.
I. Law One - The principle of how to live life is the law of sowing and reaping.
a. Galatians 6:7-10 7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
i. Parents need to teach this spiritual principle to their children if they want them to become successful in their lives.
1. They need to tell, teach, reiterate, model and demonstrate to their children the importance of planting good seed for a good life.
a. They need to see you plant and watch as God brings the harvest into your life.
b. This seeding process has a lot to do with:
i. Your actions
ii. Your lifestyle
iii. Your priorities in life
iv. Your focus for life
v. Your daily routine
vi. How you spend your money
vii. How you view the church and the world
viii. What your values are
ix. Your giving habits to the Kingdom of God
1. 2 Cor. 9:6-8 6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
b. These two texts and many other teachings from the Bible teach 4 things that parents need to model and stress with their children.
i. The principle of giving
1. The Bible tells us we must be givers. When you give you plant seeds that grow and bring forth more of what you planted into others and into the kingdom of God.
2. The truth is your kids need to see that you are giver and they need to learn the value of giving from watching how it impacts your life.
a. This has to be modeled for your children.
b. My dad was a good example of this in my younger years. I watched and observed how he gave to others especially a man by the name of Mr. Porter.
c. He was an elderly Jewish man who was my dad’s boss but they had a great relationship. He I believe had become my dad’s father figure. I dad grew up without having a dad and Mr. Porter became that for him.
d. My dad would spend many weekends doing work for him and he would take me along.
e. His giving for no cost to Mr. Porter came back on him in many blessing from this man to my dad.
f. My dad also taught me the value of giving to others when they are in need.
g. He taught me the value of picking up others checks and blessing them.
h. I learn that when you give to others – without expecting something in return God will always bless you for you giving.
ii. The principle of receiving
1. Teach your kids how to receive instruction from others- especially their teachers in life.
iii. The principle of planting
1. Teach your kids how to plant good crops and fruit in their lives. Show them how!
a. Show them the importance of planting spiritual seeds in your life.
b. Show them the value of feeding on God’s word.
c. Show them the value of church.
iv. The principle of harvesting
1. Teach your kids when it is time to bring in the harvest when it is ready.
2. Teach them the art of patience of waiting for the harvest to come to maturity.
T.S. – The first law of sowing and reaping if understood and applied to a child’s life will serve them well for the rest of their life as will the second law in our list today. This is the law of respect.
II. Law Two – The principle of how to relate to others is the imperative law of respect.
a. I Peter 2:16, 17 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
18Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
1. Note verse 17 Show respect to everyone!
a. This is really a command not a suggestion by the way!
2. But the point is we must respect others
b. I Timothy 3:2 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
i. Paul tells us how important respect is if you want to be a leader in the church.
ii. He emphasizes it as a prerequisite for leadership.
iii. Notice the phrase that relates to his children – they must show proper respect for others – or forget letting him or her be a leader. If they failed at this most important parenting law there is no way they can be a leader in church. It’s that crucial! It’s that important!
c. These two texts and other Bible teachings tell us 3 things that parents need to emphasize and model to their children in regards to respect.
i. Children need to learn how to respect God
1. You do this by showing them how to put Him first in your life
a. Deut. 5:7 states, ”You shall have no other gods before me.”
b. Deut. 5:8 ‘You shall not make for yourself and idol…and bow down to them…”
c. Deut. 5:11 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord…”
d. Deut. 5:12 “Observe the Sabbath by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.”
2. By living by his Word
3. By applying his principles to life to your life.
a. Illustration from Bruce Almighty the movie
i. This story is about a man who is self-centered and gets mad at God because he doesn’t get what he wants. So he yells at God in a disrespectful way and blames him for being a failure.
ii. So God gives him the opportunity to be God for a few days- result utter chaos and failure!
4. I see a total disrespect for God’s word and ways today.
a. I see it with the rejection of God’s word in certain parts of our society
b. I see it with those who claim to speak for God and speak contrary to what God’s word says.
i. EX. The Gay agenda
c. I see it with the apathy toward worshipping and honoring God on Sundays.
d. I see it with the unwillingness to tithe to the Kingdom of God.
e. I see it with Christians and non-Christians who treat God as their Santa Claus- They believe God is their too serve them not that they are to serve Him.
f. I see it by the way they treat authority figures.
ii. Children need to be taught to treat authority figures with respect this is a directive of God’s word – Lets read what it says:
a. Roman 13
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
b. Kids will never grow up to respect authority figures if their parents never respect authority.
i. Truth is we teach our kids this by the way we talk about others.
c. We must learn to teach our kids to respect people even if we disagree with them.
d. We must also teach our kids this by our actions toward other authority figures.
i. The illustration of the IEP meeting where the son was totally disrespectful to others in the school. When we meet the father we could see why the son did not respect those in authority he learned from his dad. Share the story.
2. We also teach respect by SPENDING TIME WITH THE KIDS?
The April 6, 1990, issue of the Wall Street Journal reported that, on the average, American parents spend less than fifteen minutes a week in serious discussion with their children. For fathers the amount of intimate contact with their children is an average of seventeen seconds per day. The important role parents play in socializing children and character formation is a difficult task, but it is an impossible one if the parents fail to bond with their kids. The result is that children and adolescents are increasingly disrespectful and disobedient to adults and to each other.
SOURCE: Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10: The Blessings of Following God’s Commandments in a Post Modern World, p. 110
Contributed by: Joel Smith
3. We teach respect by treating our kids with respect
iii. We need to also teach our kids to respect others.
1. Our society has lost this life law. I see it in the paper in the media, in families at school.
a. One teacher I talked to recently told me that in his 25 years of teaching he has never witnessed the disrespect of students today toward others and to teachers.
b. I recently talked to a Police officer who said the same thing years ago people had respect for the police even when they were pulled over today they swear curse at them and show them disrespect.
c. Share the story of the so-called Christian and how disrespectful she was to a police officer.
2. I see it in the media daily:
a. I read disrespectful comments about our nation’s leaders and about people in leadership positions in our communities. They are consistently coming under attack in disrespectful ways. I recall this happening frequently in our community.
b. I wrote an article in response to a bunch of editorials where individuals were attacking each other in writing through the newspaper. It all had to deal with how kids are to be treated and others in leadership positions. The one argument from a parent focused on ones rights. I wrote in response to these letters the thought that on the east coast we have a the statue of liberty representing our free rights but I made the point that the problem with America is she cries for rights but never wants to take responsibility for her actions. “It’s always some one else’s fault!’ So we are good at not having respect for others because we live in a mind set on blaming others for our troubles.
T.S. – We have talked about the importance of the law of respect for others but I want to lead into the next law which is the law of responsibility.
III. Law Three – The principle to being successful and satisfied with life is the law of responsibility.
a. Galatians 6:4,5 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.
i. Cloud and Townsend have a chapter in their book Boundaries With Kids and they have a chapter that talks about the need to teach our children how to pull their own wagon.
1. Illustration have a wagon up front and demonstrate this point!
2. Cloud and Townsend’s Quote:
a. Children need to know that their problems are their own problems , no one else’s. Their life is their own little red wagon, and their job is to pull it, without expecting someone else to…One of the hallmarks of maturity is taking responsibility for one’s own life, desires, and problems. If we show up late for work, we don’t blame the freeway. If we want to advance our career, we take courses. If we are angry, we deal with what-ever made us angry rather than waiting for someone to soothe our feelings. Mature adults see themselves as problem solvers instead of trying to find someone else to blame or to solve problems for them. Immature people experience life as victims and constantly want someone else to solve their problems. One definition of an addict, for example, is a person who has someone else paying his debts. Yet, as the Bible teaches, ‘each one should carry his own load’ (Galatians 6:5).
b. Kids must learn to take responsibility for their own problems.
i. Truth is there are many adults that need to learn to pull their own wagon!
ii. A family should consist of the father pulling the wagon and the wife helping to push the wagon to assist in the load that is in the wagon which is the family, the kids, the marriage, the parenting and all that comes with the family unit.
1. Sometimes the wagon may change personnel.
a. At first it may have babies then toddlers.
b. Then kids then teenagers.
c. Then it could even at time have elderly parents or other family members who are in need.
d. But the lesson from our scripture text states, “Each one should carry his own load.”
iii. The Message states from Galatians 6 it this way, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.
1. Galatians 5:25 . 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
iv. These texts plus others teach that we need be responsible in three areas of our lives and our children need to know what they are.
1. We need to take responsibility for our relationship with God.
a. No one can make you take responsibility for your spiritual condition.
b. I frequently have had spouses come into my office and say to me “You have to make my husband be the man of God he is suppose to be!” or on the other side they say, “My wife needs to have a relationship with God for our family to work better so therefore you need to make her do this!”
c. The truth is God set up “Free Will” in our world and neither you nor I can go against that. Everyone has the choice to take responsibility for their spiritual relationship with the Lord. It’s their choice not yours. They have to decide to be responsible for it.
2. We need to take responsibility for our own actions and inaction.
a. Our kids will learn to be responsible or ill-responsible based on how we act.
b. If they do not learn to be responsible for their life and actions then they have been set up to be failures the rest of their lives.
3. We need to take responsibility for our families and our society.
a. Truth is our kids need to be taught that they matter to God and to us they learn this by how we take responsibility for them.
b. When we take responsibility our kids benefit from it!
c. Listen to this survey about what happens to kids who came from homes where the parents did not take responsibility:
i. THEY NEED A FATHER
... “almost 75 percent of American children living in fatherless households will experience poverty before the age of eleven, compared to only 20 percent of those raised by two parents. Children living in homes where fathers are absent are far more likely to be expelled from or drop out of school, develop emotional or behavioral problems, commit suicide, and fall victim to child abuse or neglect. The males are also far more likely to become violent criminals. As a matter of fact, men who grew up without dads currently represent 70 percent of the prison population serving long-term sentences.”
SOURCE: Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10: The Blessings of Following God’s Commandments in a Post Modern World, p. 113
ii. PEACE CORP VOLUNTEER STUDIES
Some years ago a study was conducted among Peace Corps volunteers. Researchers took a random sample of volunteers and split them into two roughly equal groups: those who completed their tour commitments and those who returned home early because of "problems of adjustment and conduct (including psychiatric terminations)."
Unlike many studies, this one was nearly unaffected by the volunteers’ race or socioeconomic background. Almost all of them were college graduates from white, middle-class families. The study did not differentiate between reasons for father absence, "psychological" instead of physical absence, age at separation, or other father figures who may have stepped in. So an "absent" father was said to be one who was away from the child’s residence, for whatever reason, during at least the child’s tenth through fifteenth years.
The results were startling. Of the people who completed their duties, 9 percent came from absent-father backgrounds; but among those who came home early, 44 percent had absent fathers. The study was repeated, and again there was a wide gap of difference: 14 percent and 44 percent.
We’re finding similar results in study after study. The evidence must not be ignored: your children need you.
SOURCE: Ken R,. Canfield, PH.D. The 7 Secrets of Effective Fathers: Becoming the Father Your Children Need. Wheatland Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992.
Citation: Peter Suedfield, "Paternal Absence and Overseas Success of Peace Corps Volunteers," Journal of Consulting Psychology 31 (1967): 424-25.
iii. Maggies Poem
Do you know, do you understand,
That you represent Jesus to me?
Do you know, do you understand, that when you treat me with gentleness
It raises the question in my mind
that maybe He is gentle too?
Maybe He isn’t someone who laughs when I hurt.
Do you know, do you understand that when you listen to my question and you don’t laugh, I think, ‘What if Jesus is interested in me too?’
Do you know, do you understand
That when I hear you talk about arguments
And conflicts and scars from the past, that I think, ‘Maybe I am just a regular person instead of a bad, no good little girl who deserves abuse.’
If you care , I think maybe He cares.
And then there’s this flame of hope that burns inside of me for a while.
I am afraid to breathe because it might go out and I will once again have nothing
But a God who mocks and laughs and ignores me.
DO you know, do you understand that your words are His Words?
Your face, His face to someone like me.
Please be who you say you are.
Please God, don’t let this be another trick.
Please let this be real
Do you know, do you understand
Who you are?
Copyright Maggie Gross- 6/23/94
The challenge to you today as parents, grandparents is to teach your kids these three laws for if they learn them they will become all that God has called them to be.
Remember - The three laws are the law of sowing and reaping, the law of respect, and the law of responsibility.